Every time we decide to walk out our front door, we’re taking a risk. Seasoned travelers know this. They also know that in most cases, the risks pale in comparison to all there is to gain from getting out and seeing the wide world.
Many travelers have been concerned about recent reports of the Zika virus. While we don’t know everything there is to know about Zika, your best defense is the best information. Here’s a brief rundown of what we know, where you can go to get the latest info, and how you can keep yourself healthy while traveling.
What we know
Zika is a virus that is contracted through Aedes mosquito bites, and it can be passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. It has also been shown to be spread through unprotected sexual contact, through blood transfusions with infected blood, and (very rarely – only once reported in 2016) through a laboratory/healthcare environment. Epidemiologists are working to explain other possible modes of transmission.
During the first week of being infected, the virus can be found in that person’s blood; if a mosquito bites the infected person, the mosquito can then spread it to another person via another bite. (For details on transmission and prevention, read the CDC’s latest info here or the World Health Organization’s here).
There currently is concern about the affect of Zika on the fetuses of pregnant women. While much is still unknown about all the possible effects of Zika on unborn babies, here is what the CDC is currently recommending for pregnant women in any trimester who in or are considering traveling to areas affected by Zika. If you are pregnant and have travel plans, be sure to talk to your physician.
There currently is no vaccine for the Zika virus. Symptoms are usually flu-like — fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) — and may last a week or more. Most people who are infected never even have symptoms. The virus stays active in the bloodstream for about a week, sometimes longer, before a person is no longer contagious (via mosquito bite transmission). Hospitalizations and death are extremely rare.
Where to get the best information about Zika and travel
It’s common for certain media platforms to create elevated levels of panic around outbreaks like these. Your best bet is to have reliable, medically-based sources to go to in order to get the most clear, scientifically-backed, and up-to-date information possible.
For specific travel notices regarding areas of the world where Zika has been found, here are the latest CDC travel updates. In addition, you can check the U.S. State Department or the Public Health Agency of Canada for current information.
As your travel consultant, I am always here to advise you if you have any concerns about upcoming trips we are planning for you. I stay up to date on the most current information and can also reach out to your destination resort and ask what the plan is to avoid any incidents while on property.
How to stay healthy while traveling abroad
Before any trip you want to make sure you are up to date on any required vaccines. If you take medications, make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip. And if you need any special accommodations — wheelchair access, for example — be sure to tell your travel agent so he or she can alert the staff at your destination(s) to ensure you get the best care possible.
In addition, if you want to have a resource in place to cover any emergencies or unexpected medical expenses, it’s a great idea to purchase travel insurance. Depending on the plan, insurance can pay for doctor’s visits and any necessary medications while traveling.
As always, look to level-headed sources for your information. Check the numbers. Often, the total infections pale in comparison to the millions of people that travel every day. Assess the real risk, and make an informed decision from there.
As your travel agent, I make it a priority to stay current on all health and safety issues, and I invite you to ask as many questions as you need to!
If you want to go somewhere and nobody wants to go with you, go alone. You’ll meet new people with similar interests. Traveling alone is one of the most enlightening experiences a person can have. You push yourself out of your comfort zone and into a new place filled with new experiences that can expand your worldview. You have plenty of time by yourself to reflect and get to know yourself in a new and different way. It’s great.
If you want to plan a solo trip, you’ll need to pick a place and a way to finance it. But that’s not all-- traveling solo requires smart packing and extra safety measures to protect yourself. Here are the things to never forget when planning your solo trip.
Consider a Capsule Wardrobe
What is a capsule wardrobe, you say? A capsule wardrobe is a collection of classic, basic clothing all in a similar color scheme. All the pieces go together and you can create various looks with layering, mixing and matching. Generally, people use a lot of neutral tones and maybe one or two pops of their favorite color. Each item should be of the highest quality you can afford-- you don’t want seams splitting or threads unraveling on your trip.
When packing for your trip, limit your shoe choices to three maximum. Which shoes you take depends on where you’re going, with the exception of comfortable walking shoes. When you travel, you’ll always want to bring along a pair of shoes that won’t kill your feet if you get lost and have to wander around a bit.
Also pay attention to the materials that make your clothing. Things that wrinkle easily like silk and linen aren’t the best. You’ll want something that keeps its shape and looks good right out of the suitcase. After all, you don’t want to waste your time traveling with unnecessary ironing.
The benefits of a capsule wardrobe are many. You have outfit diversification so you feel and look good. When everything matches, you don’t spend time picking out what to wear. Finally, a capsule wardrobe can easily fit into your carry-on luggage. No need to worry about scrambling for resources in case the airlines lose your bags.
Traveling alone can be intimidating-- some might even call it scary. But as long as you prepare properly and stay smart, there’s nothing to fear. One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself is research. Look up the place you’re going and learn as much as you can about the area. Ask your hosts or hotels which neighborhoods to avoid when you get there. Additionally, researching customs from the area will help you not look like the tourist you are. Pickpockets and thieves target those who don’t blend in-- so blend.
Just as pickpockets target tourists, burglars target vacant homes. Be sure your house or apartment is safe while you’re gone with a trusted house sitter. If you don’t want a house sitter or would rather not spend the money, there are a few things you can do to deter thieves. Ask one of your neighbors to park their car in your driveway. This will make it look like there’s some kind of traffic coming in and out of your home. Additionally, a capable alarm system will save you loads of worry. If a burglar tries to break in, both the authorities and yourself will be notified.
Redfin.com has more tips on how to protect your home while on vacation.
Since you’ll be alone, it’s important that those you love know where you are. Share your itinerary with close friends and family. It’s not enough to rely on social media check-ins for them to be informed. In fact, it can make things more dangerous as criminals are better able to track you. If you are traveling outside of the country, contact their US Embassy and let them know you’re coming. They should also be the first people you contact in case of emergency It’s also a good idea to leave a note of where you’re going, who you’re going with, and what time you plan to be back in your room while you travel. If something happens, it will be an important asset for finding you.
Traveling alone is incredibly rewarding. While it has its specific challenges, with the right packing and planning you can have an amazing and safe trip. The secret to doing this is planning. If you prepare for any situation, you’ll be able to handle it. Now, get out there and bon voyage!
Set Your Travel Goals and Work on Achieving Them
With another year in the bag and already a quarter of 2018 already gone, you tell yourself that this is the year you’re finally going to realize your travel plans. Whether they are part of your bucket list or a dream destination, you need to stop putting it off and get planning. As we’ve mentioned previously on Absolutely Amazing Travel, the best way to start is to set a goal, start saving, and provide shape to your plan. Once you start visualizing what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go, the pieces will fall into place.
Set a Destination Goal
It’s always difficult to pick just one place to see every year, especially when most people have limited vacation time, alongside work and family commitments. Daring to Live Fully recommend choosing one place and making a solid commitment to visit that specific place. Think about which trip might be the least expensive right now if money is tight, or which destination is geographically closer. Perhaps you have a relative in a country you’ve been meaning to visit or a friend who can guide you around. When you start thinking about some of the things that may seem like obstacles, you’ll find that they really aren’t.
Book Time Off
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, sometimes we forget to do the most obvious things. One of the priority tasks when planning your getaway is booking your vacation time at work. Travel Savvy Gal explains that you should start blocking off travel time as early as possible in the new year. Many people keep putting it off, weeks end up turning into months, and they find that they’ve accomplished none of their goals. It’s never too early to start getting organized and marking your travel plans on your calendar.
While money is essential for your travel plans, as it can be exchanged for goods and services, some destinations may not be as expensive as you think they are. Early on get a general idea of what your trip might cost you; include flights, accommodations, transportation and food. One way to ensure you have enough is to start a dedicated savings account, according to this how-to by the Work Away Blog. This way you can make sure you’ve put away dedicated funds for your trip, without the temptation to spend it on something else.
More Bang for Your Buck
Now that you’ve set a goal, booked your time off and have money, what's next? How can you maximize that money and stretch it as far as possible? Always look for deals on flights and accommodations. When booking your flights online make sure you compare prices from different websites; sometimes identical flights will be cheaper on some sites compared to others. Accommodations are notorious for fetching wildly different nightly rates depending on the provider, so make sure you shop around.
Whether you’re fulfilling your bucket list or scheduling an annual trip, planning all the details can be a little daunting. So, whether you plan to do a cross-country trip, relax on a tropical beach or visit a new country, the time to plan is now. An article by Lottoland entitled ‘The Cost of Completing a Bucket List’ details how much you should be planning to save in order to visit ionic landmarks like the Taj Mahal in India. Don’t let the cost put your off either; as we’ve already mentioned some destinations may be cheaper than you think. A flight to India might set you back $1,500 depending on the carrier, but once you get there, food, accommodation and transportation will cost you very little. So, stop making excuses and go plan your getaway. Why are you still here? Go now.
New York Times writer Susan Heller famously said, “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
Even when we have great intentions, it’s easy to overload our suitcases. We wind up dragging a lot of stuff around. There’s more to keep track of; it winds up being a lot of physical and mental clutter. And, of course, we wind up paying a ton of extra fees for the additional weight and luggage.
So, rather than viewing efficient packing as a practice in minimalism, I like to think of it as a challenge that helps you make the most of every vacation: you have what you need, you’re freed up to not have to lug around a bunch of extra weight, and you can put that saved money towards a special souvenir, a nice dinner out, or another cool experience.
So what are the secrets that seasoned travelers use to guarantee expert packing? Here are the top 6:
Photo via Pixabay by Free-Photos
Gift-giving is almost never an easy process; it’s sometimes hard to know what to buy for someone even if you know them well. Gift-giving on a budget is even harder, as it can be difficult to fit that perfect item into your post-holiday spending or to find the right present for under $50. The key is to think of things that will help the recipient be the best version of themselves they can be. What are their interests?
For the person who loves to spend time outdoors, it’s a good idea to think first about their needs and then about what might add to their fun. For instance, do they enjoy camping? Do they often take long weekend trips with a camper, or are they more of a day-trip kind of person? Do they include their dog in the festivities? With just a few simple questions, you’ll be able to figure out gift ideas they’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
Here are some tips on getting started.
Do they have a dog?
If your recipient has a dog they often spend time with outdoors, you can use that to your advantage. Camping and hiking with a pet can be a great time, but it can also be dangerous without the right equipment. Would a safety light for a dog collar, a warm pet hoodie, or a fire-proof pet bed be advantageous for your loved one? Safety and comfort are two of the biggest things on a pet owner’s mind when spending time outdoors, and combining them could be your best bet. Read on here for a few ideas on what to buy.
Find the right tools
Anyone who loves spending time outdoors probably enjoys having the right tools to make that time worthwhile; for hikers, it might be an eco-friendly refillable water bottle with a filter, while campers might enjoy a small camp stove like the one seen here. Think of the best ways to help your loved one make the most of their leisure time.
Even people who love spending time in the great outdoors appreciate helpful technology, from a solar recharging kit to a bluetooth speaker that fits on the handlebars of a bike. It can be hard to fully disconnect these days, even on a camping trip, so think of some ways you can make a weekend in the woods a little easier and check out this article for ideas.
Think outside the box
Even if your recipient loves to be outside, you can find gifts that will help them at home if you think outside the box a little. For instance, if they go out of town a lot for camping, think about what they might need to keep their house safe, such as small surveillance cameras that send a live feed to a phone or tablet, or motion-sensor lights for the front yard.
After the fun
Most people who spend a lot of time outdoors are in great shape, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love a little pampering when they return from a big trip. Hikers and bike riders can especially benefit from a massage or spa day, where they can treat their sore feet and aching muscles. A gift certificate to a massage therapist or local spa is always appreciated.
It is possible to find the perfect gift on just about any budget; it’s just a matter of thinking creatively in many cases. Whether it’s a gift certificate for a service or a gift that will help them make the most of their camping trip, your loved one will appreciate that you took the time to think of them.
For some people, a dream destination pops easily into mind: they know exactly where
they would go in a heartbeat if there were no obstacles.
For others, it’s a bit more ambiguous. You might have an idea about what you’d like, but you might not be entirely certain where you’d have your passport stamped if the opportunity came up tomorrow.
We all know that the best way to make something happen is to start intentionally giving it shape — something to look at, imagine, talk about, and (most importantly!) plan for. With that in mind, here are a few questions to ask yourself so you can get started working out the details of that trip you fantasize about during those hectic workweeks.
When you’ve had time to assemble your thoughts — and if you’re working on this with your partner or friends or family members — look for overlaps, recurring themes, those quiet nudges you can’t seem to shake. Listen to your gut. And start to dream big.
You can set a goal, start saving if you need to, and start giving shape to your plan. Put your images and any accompanying words or phrases up on a cork board, or glue them to a big piece of tag board, or make a digital collage that can be your screensaver on your computer at work — anyplace where you’ll see it multiple times a day — and let those images inspire you as you get closer and closer to making your bucket list trip a reality.
The best part? I can help you design this trip down to the last customized detail. Give me a call and let’s get started! To contact me click here now
A few weekends ago I travelled to Innsbruck, Austria with my husband and my daughter to adventure through the famous Christmas markets that are known for their unique traditional and romantic atmospheres, set in Austria’s beautiful alpine region.
We arrived on opening day and quickly unpacked our luggage in a quaint apartment about 10 minutes walk from Innsbruck’s historic center and the famous “Golden Roof.” The weather was crisp and perfect for exploring the city, so we set off with our daughter in thick snow gear with extra blankets just in case of snow.
First, we walked through the Old Town Christmas market, set right underneath the famous Golden Roof, where the smell of Glühwein and Kiachln (hot homemade donuts laced with sauerkraut) immediately welcomed our noses with the feeling of warmth and tradition. Strolling through the market we found beautiful Christmas ornaments, like hand painted glass balls with majestic winter scenes, different handicrafts like knitted wool hats and scarves, incense, candles, and not to mention all of the wonderful winter treats like crepes with nutella, fried potatoes, and candied nuts!! We walked amongst the locals and drank hot Glüwein, admiring all of the beautiful medieval buildings, then stopped for dinner at an amazing Greek restaurant, Akropolis! We mistakenly did not make reservations which apparently is a MUST during the busy Christmas season, but they made room for us in the back with the promise we would only take an hour! This was perfect for us with a one year old, and we still had plenty of time to enjoy dinner, paired with Greek red wine and some after dinner digestive called “Ouzo” (kind of like the Greek version of Grappa and super INTENSE!!).
The next day we decided to walk through the family Christmas market in the Marktplatz, complete with a carousel, petting zoo, and puppet show for kids!! My daughter loved the carousel, and the tickets were only 2 euro for adults with free access for children under 1!! We let our daughter run around the area a little bit to burn off some energy, meanwhile enjoying more Glüwein of course! Tip** Each time you buy a drink you put a deposit down to get the classic market cups. You can decide to return the cup to get your money back…. OR just collect them all like we do!! I think over the 7 years we have been traveling through Europe, we have collected over 30!!
We ended our night walking through the streets, with fresh snow falling, and a small musical ensemble playing in the background. Our daughter had magically fallen asleep early, so we decided to get dinner at a local favorite in the town center and enjoyed our last evening in Innsbruck as a couple. We had a wonderful time exploring the markets, admiring the medieval architecture, and enjoying the intimate and magical winter atmosphere of Christmas in Austria! I would recommend this trip to singles, couples, or families!! The city is magical and the markets are unforgettable!!
Written By: Mary Christian | Blog Writer and Travel Enthusiast
Let's be honest, the thought of going on a Greek Cruise sounds absolutely fabulous, but where in the world do you start planning such an amazing vacation with so many things to see? That was exactly my thought 4 years ago when I decided to begin planning a trip with my husband to Greece.
To Cruise or Not to Cruise???
At first, I thought the flight should be booked directly from Frankfurt Hahn to Athens, or the Island of Corfu, and then fly or drive to a few other cities from there. After checking numerous sites and prices I found that this particular route would end up being pretty expensive, with all of the flight and transfer costs. My main goals for this Greek vacation were to:
1. Make it as inexpensive as possible
2. Visit multiple Greek cities and destinations in a short amount of time
3. Enjoy+ relax
4. Have fun and take part in new adventures
So, after rigorous research scanning multiple travel sites and comparing airline, train, and ferry prices I decided that for our specific goals a cruise could meet all of our needs, and would allow us to see multiple places for a relatively low cost!
I found an amazing deal with Costa Cruise lines, you might remember it was the cruise line that capsized and sank in 2012, after hitting an underwater obstruction right off the coast of Tuscany.....but the prices were AMAZING, only around $400 per person for a seven night cruise departing from Sevona, Italy, visiting Rome (Citavecchia), Olympia (Katakolon), Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, and ending in Crete. I utilized Cruisecritic.com for research on the booking the cruise, and scanned through various forums before making the decision. Given the pricing, amazing destinations, and number of nights, it was an unbeatable deal!
So we set sail on the Costa Mediterranea and ended up loving it!! The food was decent, and the entertainment was hilariously awful, but we still had a wonderful time!! The pool deck was perfect for sunbathing, and there were hourly group workouts at the main pool, even Zumba!! At night the boat boasted a small casino which was nice for a drink or two, and a few games after dinner. I would definitely recommend getting a drink package if you plan to buy alcoholic beverages or soda, unless you want to pay an arm and a leg during the cruise ;) The workout facility had just enough for a good cardio workout, and maybe a little lifting session with a small variety of machines. Dinner was always really good with a variety of dishes and options, and offered really good wine! The ship hosted theme nights like toga and 80's nights, which was pretty fun to liven up the cruise experience.
Olympia (Katakolon) Excursion
I set out to make the best of our seven night Mediterranean cruise by making our time at each destination count. I decided I did not want to pay an arm and a leg for costly trip excursions, and took things into my own hands by booking private excursions that I could browse for based on price, and reviews on my own. I love Trip Advisor, so I used their suggestions, and their online forum to find private tours to two of the destinations, Olympia (Katakolon) and Athens.
I decided to do a private taxi transport to and from the Olympia (Katakolon) port. We were taken straight to the Olympia Archeological Museum, and the Floka Stadium. Given the extremely short cruise stop, I used Katakolon Taxi Tours katakolontaxitours.com to make our journey smooth and efficient. Our guide, Panagiotis Zaharopoulos, was great and even bought our museum and stadium tickets for us so we would not have to stand in line and waste time!!! We made it there and back with time to spare, and saw the ruins, arena, and toured the museum! I definitely recommend this option if you are short on time!
For our Athens excursion I knew that I wanted to see as much as possible in the, again, short time frame we were given at port. I also knew that the heat and distance of each site would be difficult to walk. While researching, I looked on a Trip Advisor travel forum and found an American couple that was booking the same cruise, and were interested in booking a taxi tour in Athens as well! We ended up joint-booking through Paul's Taxi Tours (greektaxi.gr), and had an amazing excursion, in a well air conditioned taxi I might add!! We saw everything from the Acropolis and Parthenon, to the National Archaeological Museum, and ended with a great lunch at an amazing local restaurant.
Our tour mates, ended up being our great friends and did pretty much everything with us on our cruise!! What are the odds?? We did not book any off-shore cruise excursions for the rest of the trip, but we did decide to rent ATVs in Santorini and skip the typical donkey rides, and it ended up being an absolute blast!! We rode around the entire island, visiting Oia and Fira, a beautiful hidden black sand beach we came across, and even had time to visit the famous Red Beach!!
In Rhodes we explored the majestic medieval town, including a visit to the Palace of Grand Master of Knights, had a great local lunch, shopped in some of the amazing handmade leather shops, and then spent some time on the beach! We even jumped off of a huge, maybe 40ft "give or take", tower in the ocean!!
Ending Our Trip in Beautiful Crete!!
When we ended our wonderful cruise, stopping in Crete, we were sad to leave but had found a nice little hotel in the town of Stavros, Greece to stay for a few extra nights before departing back home to Germany. My husband actually booked the hotel, and it ended up being wonderful! The rooms were right on the water, and there was a pool overlooking the sea. We were immediately greeted with a welcome glass of Greek red wine (so delicious)!! We set out to relax and enjoy our area so we walked around the dusty streets of a very small section of town, with only a select few shops and restaurants. We found a wonderful little beach, and a restaurant right on the water that served the best Greek salad I have ever had, and they served fresh watermelon for desert! Yumm!
After taking the last few days of our vacation relaxing and enjoying the local beaches in Stavros, we were off, back home to Germany!
It was one of the best vacations I have ever taken with my husband. I recommend taking a Greek Cruise if you want to travel to multiple destinations in Greece in a short time!! Definitely do your research and make the most of your trip. IT"S WORTH IT!! Enjoy travelers!!
Written By: Mary Christian | Blog Writer and Travel Enthusiast
So you have a grand adventure planned...
You step off the plane, find a way to get to your hotel, and...now what?
Sure, you grab some maps and walk around and take some selfies, but eventually you may want a travel buddy, even just a lunch or dinner. Or to get some new ideas for things to see.
Been there? I know I have!
Even traveling solo on a grand adventure CAN get lonely, let's not skirt around that. And when the time comes, you will likely want to meet other cool locals or people exploring the area from out of town - like you.
Don't want to join one of those major tours? No problem. Try these instead?
1. TAKE A COOKING CLASS
A cooking class is an AWESOME way to meet other people in a non-awkward setting. Obviously cooking classes can range the gamut from intense cooking schools to chill cooking-immersion vacations, but even if you are visiting a city for a couple days, you can find a local class almost anywhere. Some places like Italy and France might have a few more options, but there are so many places where you can even pop into someone's kitchen or restaurant and learn how to cook a traditional meal. The coolest part is that the other people in the class are clearly there because they have some interest in food, which makes it super easy to strike up conversations and cook meals with, potentially, people from all over the world. Plus, if they are cool, it's the perfect excuse to invite them out or over to try a second attempt at the meal you all learned to master!
I have done this with Mediterranean cooking classes and in Curacao, where some locals came over to our hostel and taught and helped us cook a fabulous local feast and we ended up hanging out and adventuring together for the rest of the trip like a big family. We even made a big cake for one of the backpacker's birthday and celebrated her birthday like a local!
2. SIGN UP FOR A RACE OR EVENT
This one intimidates alot of people and I really don't want you to be! Hear me out!
There are SO many kinds of races or events, where some are totally competitive and some are totally for the fun, atmosphere, and crowd, even if it's called a "race." The best example of this is the Medoc Marathon in France where taking less than six hours and showing up to the finish line sober is considered a faux pas. This one takes you through some of the most beautiful wineries and chateaus in the area and at each aid station there is wine provided.
Choose a 5k, choose a bubble run, a color run, a glow-in-the-dark run, a trail run, or beer mile! You can't be disappointed in the crowds that show up to these events and you are bound to meet some seriously cool people.
3. STAY IN A HOSTEL OR LODGE
Some of the BEST experiences I have had had been by staying in hostels or lodges. You undoubtedly going to get a few people who just want to do their own thing, but for the most part, people come to meet others, to experience a place, and spend less on places to stay and more likely splurge on experiences. THESE are the kinds of people you want to be around when you visit a new place, and if you are alone, it can be a great way to strike up a conversation about things to do in the area and join forces to make them happen.
I stayed in a little place I thought was a bed and breakfast in Curacao and it turned out to be a total hostel. Luckily, the coolest backpackers from all over the world were staying in this little place and to this day, we ALL remain close friends! We had Germans, a Columbian, Dutch, American, and locals. We partied together, learned German, learned local misquito-bite refief tactics (the bugs were eating me alive!), learned to cook local dishes and had BBQ's, explored the islands, celebrated birthdays, and stay in touch! What I thought was going to be a solo dive trip turned into a huge tropical adventure with some of the most incredible people I have ever met!
4. GO DANCING
I personally love this option for so many reasons. Not only is a great way to get out to see a new place, but dancing is so different all over the world that you won't run out of new experiences or people to meet at each different location. Additionally, dancing with a partner who knows what they're doing can be incredibly fun. It can be equally fun if you are actually terrible and want to learn something new or just enjoy yourself. Because really, are you ever going to see these people again anyway?
I have taken Salso, Hula, Flamenco, Jazz, Line Dancing, and much more and found that not only is getting out on the dance floor a fantastic way to make some neat connections and even go to other places with the same people on another night. Whether you are in the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a German club, or a festival in Africa, dancing with locals can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences that you will never forget, whether you're pretty bad at first or a pro (you are likely to not be a pro if you are dancing the local dances!). Live it up!
5. JUMP ON AN APP "TOURLINA" (LIKE... 10 MINUTES AGO!)
Ladiiiiiiiies!!! If you are not on the Tourlina app, you need to get on this pronto! This women's-only app connects women travelers from all over the globe similarly to other popular dating apps out there...but without the dating. Instead, you find other girls who are locals OR that are traveling in your area that are also looking for a friend or fellow traveler to meet up with. Plan dinners, find backpacking buddies, hit up awesome museums...whatever it is, you can find a friend with similar interests to explore a new place. You can connect, chat, and make plans with a travel buddy before or during your trip and know that you are meeting up with the person you actually connected with online.
But safety is 100% an issue for us girls, especially traveling solo, so how do you know it's safe and trustworthy and you're not really about to meet up with 45-year-old dude? This is the coolest part...
Each user is totally background checked and verified as a real person! Seriously girls, how cool is this? The geniuses behind Tourlina actually take the time to do this to ensure the safety and satisfaction of each user so you can trust that you are meeting up with who you expect to be meeting!
Scuba Diving: https://jobs.goabroad.com/
Teach Scuba diving, yoga, surfing, skiing/snowboarding, climbing...teach something somewhere and you can't HELP but meet tons of people! Obvious considerations have to be taken into account like wage differences in foreign countries, accommodations, and work visas if you are traveling and working abroad, but there are SO many skills you can take anywhere in the world and not only meet and spend time with other staff, but acquire new students and teach what you love in a faraway place. What's not to love?
For many jobs, you can actually get free places to stay if you are teaching. For example, as a dive instructor you can oftentimes stay on a beautiful liveaboard or dive lodge somewhere exotic, or in a retreat center as a yoga instructor. You may not make as much, depending on many factors of course, but you will certainly meet some awesome like-minded people while living or traveling to different corners of the world.
7. VOLUNTEER AT AN ENGLISH IMMERSION CAMP
If you want a full-immersion experience, instead of just teaching English (and sometimes another language), joining a tour group, or looking for volunteer opportunities or free accommodations, how about all 3-in-1? Here's how it works: You apply to be a volunteer at one of the designated and beautiful resorts (primarily in Spain or Germany), where you will get to stay there for free for one week in exchange for speaking English with non-native speakers.
You are not necessarily TEACHING English, but allowing others to improve in a natural and organic way. There are meals included, outings, and scheduled times to practice and converse, but in a group setting, you will have a hard time NOT meeting amazing people from all over the world and especially Europe. You will have a schedule of activities, parties, outings, meals, and more, so it's true you will have less time to explore a location than if you were on your own, but for a week-long free stay with meals, volunteering, and meeting so many people, for many, it's worth it! And seriously...check out some of the places you could be staying!
8. BE A HOUSE SITTER
Are you willing to watch someone's house for a set amount of time? In exchange for accommodations, you might be asked to feed chickens, keep a house tidy while the owners are on vacation, watch some cats...the possibilities are endless! But there are so many homeowners around the world that allow you stay in some stunningly beautiful properties for a free stay or pay (completely dependent on owner and website!).
Choose a beach house in Costa Rica or a chateau in France and you could living the life of luxury for a few menial chores. This will keep you based in one area for the agreed amount of time and you should absolutely fulfill your end of the bargain once you get there, but this option is really a win-win for everyone involved!
9. BE A PET SITTER
Pet-sitting can be very similar to house-sitting and sometimes they will be one in the same, but not if pet-sitting is just feeding horses or coming over to a location to make sure a pet is walked or cared for, so you may not ALWAYS get free accommodations with this one. You will likely not meet as many people as some of the other activities on this list, but you can estanblish a good good relationship with the pet owners who usually gladly help guide you to the coolest places around the place you are staying.
If you are not necessarily looking for crowds of people to meet, but to just have a contact in a location and maybe make a little money or get a free stay, this is cool option. Also, you know that when you take a dog to the dog park, you never know what other cute/attractive guys or girls will be there to meet (guys taking dogs to Central Park in New York has long been a great way to meet women!). But looking for love, friends, or just a contact, this is a great option for animal lovers everywhere.
10. JOIN THE CREW
Have a little more time or an adventurous spirit? Try joining a crew on a yacht or boat! *PLEASE NOTE: Some of these jobs will require certain training or certifications, similarly to scuba diving!* But working as a crew member on a boat not only gives you a pretty stable group of co-workers to work with, but you have accommodations and meals usually covered, get leave to go on land, and travel to some very exotic and beautiful places. This can be a great way to see the world for basically the cost of getting to the boat, wherever it it's docked or based out of.
The cool thing about this is the variety of jobs available. You could captain, cook, serve, be a deckhand, etc. The boats will typically take on paying clients/guests unless it is a privately owned boat, where you MAY be on call for work, so if that is something you are willing to do, then this could be fantastic way to meet many, many people and travel the world. The above sites have awesome listings all over the world and will tell you if and what kind of certifications will be needed for each position.
11. GO TO A PARTY
I know the party scene isn't for everyone, but think about how many types of parties their are: beach parties, BBQ's, hotel parties, pool parties, dinner parties... the list goes on. By joining locals and tourists alike, it can be a great way to be "forced" to talk to people, or at least interact over some food and beverage if you so choose (responsibly, of course...). But if there is a local music event or way to people surrounding a certain theme or activity, it can be really fun!
Don't worry much about not having someone to go with if you are solo. I know that can feel really weird attending a party totally solo, but one, no one is looking at you or cares much what you're doing or who you're talking to (unless you are intentionally making a scene or wearing a wild costume...I've seen this done tactic actually work quite well). Wine tasting events are a great way to get out to a party that is pretty social. Be sure to just come with an open mind and start conversations about the perfect cheese and wine pairing, even if it's with the vintner at first! Don't be shy! People love talk about themselves so engaging with someone should be pretty easy, especially with a glass of wine.
12. TAKE A CITY TOUR
I am so crazy about this idea because of the plethora or city tours available for EVERYONE! Photography, haunted, chocolate, stars' homes, beer, on foot, by bus, by car...with so many options available, check out the links above for a few neat ones to get started!
So what better way to meet super interesting people than doing something fun and wacky or super engaging? The WORST case scenario is you have a fantastic time people-watching while hitting some awesome and sometimes hidden city highlights!
Many locals will offer tours and I have even been invited out by the tour guides and their friends afterwards, which ended up being the most amazing experience. They took us to parties, hidden little museums and historic sites, showed us the best restaurants in town, and helped us get around for free!
The last piece of advice I would pass on is to NOT WORRY! Of course be safe, but don't worry about being a bad dancer or having a weird group of people on a city tour where you end up people-watching and laughing about it later! Go out there and meet some awesome people, experience some awesome new things, and...pics or it didn't happen.
Written by Whitney Powell http://www.ironwillproductions.com Producer | Host | Athlete | Expedition Leader
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